Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas, 2016 Edition

Edited by Matthew J. Moody, Esq.
Publication Date: 2016

Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas is the insider’s guide to what it’s really like to be a practicing attorney in 20 different areas of the law. Whether you’re preparing for on-campus interviews, about to begin as a summer associate, or looking to make a lateral move, Practice Perspectives is a vital career exploration tool.

In this guide, you will find more than 35 interviews with attorneys who are at the top of their fields at some of the most prestigious law firms in the country. We asked these partners and associates all about their specific practice areas—the types of clients they represent, the best and worst aspects of working in their chosen fields, and what misconceptions exist about their specialties. We invited the top firms in each practice area, as rated by more than 17,000 associates from across the country in our 2015 Vault Associate Survey, to participate in this guide. Each year, Vault ranks law firms in a variety of practice areas based on the views of associates practicing in those areas. We invited the top ten firms in each category to participate in Practice Perspectives.

The importance of finding the right practice area for you can’t be understated—switching fields down the line, while not impossible, is not easy. Take the time now to do as much research as possible, and don’t rule out areas outside your comfort zone—a field you don’t know much about yet might turn out to be the perfect fit for you.

Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas is sponsored by:

Allen & Overy LLP
Bracewell LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Cooley LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Desmarais LLP
Fenwick & West LLP
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Knobbe Martens
Kobre & Kim
Mayer Brown LLP
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
MoloLamken LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Norton Rose Fulbright
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
White & Case LLP


Matthew J. Moody, Esq. is Vault’s Senior Law Editor where he writes and edits all of Vault's law guides, oversees the editing of all law firm profiles, and writes about legal industry news and career advice on Vault’s Law Blog. Prior to joining Vault, Matt worked as a commercial litigator for eight years at two Vault 100 law firms. Matt has a JD from Georgetown Law and a BS in Journalism and Online Media from the University of Florida.

PDF Format
Learn more about this format

This guide is available in PDF format. You can read Vault Guides on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Learn More

Forbes magazine calls Vault Guides CliffsNotes for Careers. Find out which industry and company is right for you.